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September 16, 2014

Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka, FL

Homosassa River's Waterfront Fish Market

Homosassa River's Waterfront Fish Market

Events and Seminars:

September 18, 2014, from 6 a.m. to midnight CT, the Central Florida chapter of Heroes on the Water (HOW) is participating in Giving Day. That day, every donation $25 and above will be multiplied when you donate through this link: www.northtexasgivingday.org/#npo/heroes-on-the-water

This Week's Crystal River, Homosassa Fishing Report

For those of you who've followed my fishing and outdoor reports for a while know every now and then I wonder away from my familiar stomping grounds and explore adventure elsewhere, well this was one of those glorious occasions.

During our travels this past week, my lovely bride Sandi and I escaped to Citrus County on Florida's west central coast to attend the Florida Outdoor Writers Association's annual conference in Crystal River, Florida. Our accommodations for this excursion were the magnificent Plantation on Crystal River where we were greeted by cheerful and courteous staff along the banks of the quiet and peaceful Crystal River. Located just an hour northwest of Orlando. The Plantation is the place to stay if you plan a visit to either Crystal River or Homosassa or just looking to escape from reality for a few days. Located on the water, the Plantation includes on site marina and dive shop, guide services, fine dinning, boat ramp, boat slips with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, and a championship golf course.

Plantation on Crystal River

Plantation on Crystal River

On our first evening we were treated to an exclusive back stage tour of the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park were enjoyed an evening of wildlife viewing and our welcome reception. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters. Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring as well as snook, sheepshead and other species of fish.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Lu the resident Homosassa Hippo

Lu the resident Homosassa Hippo

Visit Homosassa Just Be Claws

Visit Homosassa Just Be Claws

The Homosassa and Crystal River areas are renowned for scalloping during the summer and as a lifelong Florida native I've never been once, so I opted join some friends for a day of diving for scallops instead of fishing, and I'm glad I did. Our adventure began when we met up with Captain Rick Burns of Reel Burns Charters and his best mate Renee at Macrea's of Homosassa. Soon we were under way heading out the Little Homosassa River to the grass flats west of Crystal River.

Although we were diving near the end of scallop season, Captain Rich and Renee knew exactly where to start, and in a matter of minutes from hitting the water, I was no longer a scallop virgin. Captain Rick's a veteran Homosassa Fishing Guide who offers fishing charters year round, scalloping during the summer season and manatee swimming trips during the winter in the springs, and it's well worth the expense to acquire his services for any of these excursions.

Homosassa Bay Scallops

Homosassa Bay Scallops

After snorkeling for several hours we returned for a quick refreshing swim in the 72-degree waters Homosassa Springs and finished our day at Neon Zeon's where the staff prepared a fresh catch lunch of bay scallops, Cajun pasta and beer. Named after the legendary bass guitarist Leon Wilkeson of the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynard, Neon Zeon's Zydeco Steak House is not only a great place to eat, it's a most visit for anyone who enjoys the history of American rock and roll.

Scalloping Crew at Neon Leon's

Scalloping Crew at Neon Leon's

Although the entire week was great fun, the highlight of the trip for me was being honored by the Florida Outdoor Writers Association as the recipient of the Bass Pro Shop's Pass It On Award for the volunteer work I do with the Anglers For Conservation's Hook Kids on Fishing Program in Central Florida.

Jill Zima Borski and Rob Modys presenting the Bass Pro Shop's Pass it on Award

Jill Zima Borski and Rob Modys presenting the Bass Pro Shop's Pass it on Award

It's always great to escape from reality for a few days and visit with my FOWA family, and I promise I'll be back to Homosassa sooner than you think.

Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!

Fishing Forecast

October, 2014

Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka, FL

Larry's Fall Redfish
Larry's Fall Redfish

Events and Seminars

October 10th-19th -Third Annual SPACE COAST SURF FISHING TOURNAMENTLearn more by going to:www.AnglersForConservation.org.

Monday October 13th - 6:30 to 9pm - Central Florida Offshore Anglers Association's Annual Bait Rigging Seminar. The event will be held at The American Legion Hall, 1912 Lee Road, Orlando. This free event features seminars and hands on bait rigging stations. I will be doing a seminar on rigging up for the American shad season. For more details on this event contact Jeff Page at 407-353-0120 or visit their website at mycfoa.com

Saturday October 25th - Safe light to 3pm - UCF Reel Knights presents the First Annual Bass Fishing Tournament. The event will be held at Big Toho Marina and all proceeds will go to support the UCF Collage Bass Fishing Team. For more information or to register for this tournament contact Neal Lazarus at 407-383-4223 or neallazarus@earthlink.net

Thursday October 30th - 6:30 to 8:30 pm - 2015 Shad and Crappie Derby Kick-off Meeting The event will be held at Gander Mountain in Lake Mary, Florida. For more details on this event visit http;//www.faceboob.com/cfshadderbt

Saturday November 1st - 4 to 10pm - Afternoon on the Lagoon Fire Fighter Cancer Benefit held at Cracker Jacks Tiki Bar Max Brewer Memorial Pier, Titusville, Florida Come and enjoy cocktails for cause and help raise funds for local sick and injured fire fighters.

Saturday November 22nd - AFC Gumbo Wars held at Fish on Fire Restaurant, 7937 Daetwyler Drive, Orlando, Florida 32812. Come out and enjoy all the gumbo you can eat for just 10 dollars and all proceeds benefit Anglers for Conservation Orlando and other youth and children fishing programs in Orlando. For more details go to the Gumbo Wars Facebook page.

October Fishing Forecast

The Fall Mullet Have Arrived

As hurricane season wanes on Florida's east central coast, a stalled frontal boundary settled in delivering a deluge of rain over a period of weeks creating one of the wettest Septembers in our states history. Despite the lack of summer squalls (hurricanes) in the Atlantic this year, water levels and conditions are very high throughout the Indian River Lagoon system and on the St Johns River and inland lakes.

In Central Florida, fall is not defined by extreme changes in our weather but rather Mother Nature's small adjustments or indicators signaling the transition from summer to winter patterns. Acorns dropping from the oak trees, the arrival of dreaded lovebugs and a northeast shift in our prevailing winds, all marks this transition period setting the stage for our fall mullet run.

Along the beach, look for the silver kings (tarpon), smoker kings (kingfish), blacktip sharks, jack crevalle, and redfish to be shadowing pods of Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin herring (greenies), Spanish sardines, bay anchovy (glass minnows) and silver mullet in close to the beach. Also look for snook fishing in the surf to improve as long as the water stays warm. In and around the inlets, look for Spanish mackerel, tarpon, jack cervalle, and bonita to be working schools of glass minnows on the outside, and snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and flounder in the area of jetties and other structure.

Angling on the in-shore lagoons will continue to show improvement, with fishing in the predawn and late evening hours being most productive. Look for schools of redfish in the skinny water holding in the vicinity of bait concentration, and target them utilizing smaller top-water plugs. Once the sun gets higher in the sky and the top-water bite slows down, bait becomes your better option. For larger trout, fish live pigfish in close to docks and other structure adjacent to deeper water. In deeper water, look for large schools of ladyfish, small trout, and tarpon pushing schools of glass minnows near the surface. These schools are easy to locate by watching for concentrations of birds, terns and cormorants, joining in on the frenzy, and they are perfect for fly anglers who are interested in the continuous fast and furious action provided by these speedsters. Last but not least, look for pompano schools holding in the shadows of the causeway bridges. Fish jigs tipped with shrimp or sand fleas (mole crabs) along the deeper edges and drop-offs. Lagoon water levels are extremely low, so please use caution when accessing skinny water.

Red on Fly Caught by Captain Chris Myers

Red on Fly Caught by Captain Chris Myers

The shorter days in September also set the stage for the beginning of our fall mullet migration as the silver mullet begin to form up for their journey south for the winter. Along with this transition, breeder redfish form up for their spawn in the north Indian River Lagoon and inlet passes, as well as the snook in the surf.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you who enjoy angling on Florida's east central coast for your courteous and respectful treatment of the resource, other anglers, and the sport, and encourage all recreational anglers to become part of the solution by being responsible and respectful anglers.

Captain Tom Van Horn